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New York City Dims Skyscrapers

nyc_night.jpgInstead of being a city of bright lights, New York City will now emit a softer glow in a move to conserve energy and save utility dollars. Susan Harder, New York section leader of International Dark-Sky Association, told the New York Times that “we’ll always have an iconic skyline, but we don’t need this big glow over the city.”

Some companies are now opting to light only the crown of buildings instead of the top floors to show off the architecture. More companies are being equipped with motion sensors, which work to turn the lights off when the last workers leave and turn them on before employees arrive. Building owners are also looking to charge tenants for their electricity use and some are even installing LEDs, which are efficient and longer lasting.

The changes are gaining wider acceptance as green building projects such as Hearst Tower, Bank of America Tower, 7 World Trade Center and the New York Times Building are gaining rave reviews.

In addition, government rules are also propelling the move forward. In June, the State Assembly passed legislation requiring new outdoor lights have shields that reduce glare and waste. City Councilman Alan Gerson has also introduced similar measures, requiring full streetlight shields and motion detectors in all commercial and government buildings and mandating more efficiently lighted billboards.

Other cities are also dimming their lights. Boston recently launched a two-month pilot program dubbed Lights Out Boston, which could save the city about 25 percent in energy used for lighting.

The Planet also saved big with a lights-out program, reducing its yearly energy consumption by more than 1.4 million kilowatt hours which delivered an annual cost savings of almost $140,000.

Last year, Yahoo and PG&E donated more than 100,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs as part of an energy conservation campaign organized by Lights Out San Francisco.

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